Making room for warm weather clothes and other items is one of the benefits of spring cleaning. But every spring, it seems that your winter clothes and accessories have multiplied and you start to wonder, “Where did it all go last year?”
The truth is, you probably did add a few more winter accessories this year. And now you have to find space for it. Here are some ideas to store your winter stuff as you get ready for the new season.
First, decide where you have room for your out-of-season gear. Hopefully, you have some space out-of-the-way—an unused closet, the basement, the attic, or a climate-controlled garage. Make sure that the area doesn’t get too hot or cold, is clean and—most importantly—that it’s dry.
Also, make sure that it’s dark—too much light can cause clothes and other fabrics to fade.
If you find that you don’t have enough room in your home, consider renting a storage unit for part of the year. Storage rental facilities have a wide range of sizes, from tiny closet to big garage. It’s an inexpensive option if you need a little more space.
Before You Store
Clean your winter clothes one last time before putting them away. Any soils left on your fabrics could leave a stain. It’s also very important to keep insects from making a home in your clothes, and a thorough cleaning is a good way to make sure they’re pest-free.
Folding your coats, sweaters and other winter clothing and storing them in a box or other container is a smart, space-saving solution. Plastic containers provide great protection, especially when a few mothballs or cedar blocks are included. Cardboard boxes are good, but make sure you keep them in a dry place because they can be ruined by water.
Your luggage may be the best storage container. They’ll protect your clothes, but also allow some airflow. If you have extra luggage, line it with acid-free tissue and store your clothes there.
Issues With Air
Allowing your clothes room to “breathe” helps prevent mold and mildew from forming in them. When storing in a container, put the heavier items in the bottom and the lighter ones at top to promote airflow.
Never wrap your clothes in plastic, unless it’s a vacuum-sealed plastic or nylon container. These use your vacuum cleaner to suck the air out of the container, preventing insects, mold or mildew from getting to your clothes. This also compresses your clothes, making them easier to store. Search the internet for “vacuum-sealed storage bags” to purchase them.
Things to Avoid
Hanging certain clothes, like knits, for a long time can pull them out of shape, which is why it’s better to store them in boxes. If you do hang some items, make sure they are sitting properly on their hangers.
Instead of hanging them in plastic bags, take an old bed sheet and cut a series of holes in the middle for hangers to poke through. You can hang a whole season’s worth of clothes underneath this sheet, and they’ll be protected while getting plenty of airflow.
Of course, not all of your winter gear is clothing. Here are a few general tips for storing items you won’t need until the weather gets cold again:
- Completely dry your winter equipment, especially moving parts, like ski bindings.
- Find a cool, dry, out-of-the-way space for them.
- Hang items like skis, shovels and ice skates to keep them out of harm’s way.
With just a little attention to putting things away, you’re sure to have all of your winter clothes and equipment ready to go next year. And organized storage will make it easy to unpack everything when next winter calls you outside for some wintertime fun.